Good Reading Roundup for 2013 – Part Two

  • Post published:12/22/2013
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My Reading Roundup Continues. Books make up a good part of my pleasure in gardening. I get information during the growing season and varied pleasures in growing season – and all the rest of the year. Clink on the link for full information about each book.

Speedy Vegetable Garden

The Speedy Vegetable Garden by Mark Diacono and Lia Leendertz (Timber Press) is not necessarily for impatient gardeners, but gardeners who want to extend the growing season into the depths of winter.   Soaks (I never heard of those before), sprouts and microgreens. A micro-green is really just the baby stage of the shoot and this is a time when nutrients are at a high level. You wouldn’t make a whole salad out of micro-greens, but they add vibrant taste to your regular salad.. . .A micro-green is really just the baby stage of the shoot and this is a time when nutrients are at a high level. You wouldn’t make a whole salad out of micro-greens, but they add vibrant taste to your regular salad.



Kiss My Aster

Kiss My Aster by Amanda Thomsen is informative, encouraging and great fun, complete with cartoon-like illustrations. The wild and witty Amanda Thomsen of the famous Kiss My Aster blog has just given us Kiss My Aster: A Graphic Guide to Creating a Fantastic Yard Totally Tailored to You. This book for the beginning gardener with it jolly cartoon-ish illustrations will help you sort out what kind of gardener you might be to elements of garden design. Thomsen is full of fun – and good advice. Kiss My Aster is helpful to the gardener when she is planning to make her yard more beautiful and/or needs more information about starting a vegetable garden. In either case Thomsen gives brief information about individual plants, trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals for sun or shade. Herbs, too.


Garden Projects for Kids: 101 ways to get kids outside, dirty, and having fun by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher of LIfe Lab in Santa Cruz, California will help you as you bring your children into the garden. What with people talking about a ‘nature deficit’ among our children, and the presence of so many screens in our life, parents and friends sometimes wonder who we are going to get kids back into the outdoors. Garden Projects for Kids will inspire and support the parents of young children about all the ways the garden leads to healthy playtimes. Of course, there is just plain playing in the dirt, which can lead to planting in the dirt, which can lead to harvesting and eating good treats, but it can also lead to looking at bugs, looking at all the life to be found in a square foot of ground, how to make birdhouses out of plants you have grown, and how to pound flowers into art. Lots more too.

Gardening with Free Range Chickens for Dummies is for gardeners who have taken on a backyard flock of chickens.  Bonnie Jo Mannion, who has a degree in Avian Science, and Rob Ludlow, the owner of, have put together Gardening with Free-Range Chickens for Dummies which answers every question you ever thought of about caring for chickens, while also caring for your garden. They even have answers to important issues you never thought about. is an excellent book for people who are planning to raise a small backyard flock. It is unique in that it addresses your dual goal of raising a healthy flock of chickens and a beautiful garden.



Vegetable Literacy

Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison (Ten Speed Press) is a beautiful book, almost as much garden book as cookbook. Madison tells us about her understanding of plant families she explains that if we look as vegetables in a single plant family we can see how they can be substituted for each other. She also shows us that parts of a vegetable we don’t ordinarily eat, are edible and can be used as part of a dish. Her book is organized around twelve families beginning with the Carrot family which is huge. It is comprised of a host of Umbelliferae like angelica, anise, asafetida, caraway, carrots, celery, celery root, chervil, cilantro and coriander, cumin, dill, hennel, hemlock, lovage, osha, parsley, parsley root, parsnips, Queen Anne’s Lace. For each plant family, Deborah Madison gives advice about using the whole plant, good companions, and some kitchen wisdom. And great recipes, of course.


More to come tomorrow.

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